tv [untitled] February 6, 2011 8:00am-8:30am PST
staff. we responded to that in our pocket. the substantial evidence rule is the standard of review for determination of whether a building is a historic resource for the purposes of ceqa. it is not their argument that requires us to prepare an eir. in the city of fresno in 2008, the court concluded the substantial evidence rule and not the fair argument test applies to a local agency determination of whether a building that has not previously been determined eligible for the california register of historic resources has not otherwise been determined to be a historic resource, such as in this case.
supervisor campos: your argument would be that there is no substantial advantage? >> correct, we have not been presented with any substantial evidence. supervisor cohen: did the report also look at the potential impact of the new construction for surrounding properties that might be included in a new historic district? >> yes. the department invited the new project and took into consideration the offsite historic resources of any potential historic districts and considered that with the proposed project.
president chiu: any follow up to your question? supervisor cohen: now that you call me, i think i will ask one more question. this building will be eligible for the inclusion in that district, right ms. tam? >> this building is not a historic resource or a contributor to the district, but we do believe it is compatible with the district. president chiu: any additional questions to planning? seeing none, we will go to the real party of interest for a presentation of up to 10 minutes. >> i am rick gladstone.
to my right is sam kelley, an attorney in my office to advise me on this for several years. as you know, the client provided a loan to the prior owner, who intended to renovate it. he stopped making loan payments and abandoned the development. as a result, it is concrete open to the sidewalk. there are missing walls and also missing portions of ceilings. the building will come down and there will be new structures built. the prior developer was not sensitive to the neighbors. with no repayment of the loan, my client is allowed to defend any of their actions. it has been a long time to get to this hearing. the planning commission has met three times. it had to do a lot of due diligence. there was a lot of complexity. the russian hill neighborhood
association -- we had to do a lot of due diligence. a lot of the clans are somewhat disturbing, if true. -- it claims are somewhat disturbing, if true. the board spent a lot of time determining if they are. there was a full support of the neighborhood association and a unanimous vote of the planning commission to demolish the building. i remind you there was a unanimous vote of the historic preservation commission to approve this, and of the board of appeals to approve the variance for this project. although the decision is not based on popularity, my client is proud of the fact that all of
the property owners who are adjacent are in full support of this, along with the 900-person- strong neighborhood association. of the person speaking in opposition today -- none who spoke today live on adjacent properties. those who spoke live uphill from the property. we believe concerns about light, air, and you are properly dealt with at the board of appeals and the planning commission. when you appeal the historic preservation argument, you will find this it -- this appeal is about whether a new structure should be built in the same location in the middle of the
lot, or the alternative that three city commissions have approved -- one unit in the rear and one unit in the front, in the area that is now open. in this regard, it is important to note that there are nine lots between the addresses 1215 and 1275, as seen here. most of them have structures at the rear. eight have structures at the very front. the original structures at the rear were from the 1870's. within 10 years, the structures at the front were built one by one. my client's property is the exception property that has no front structure. the appellants take the position that all the the existing structure is not historic enough to preserve, that its location
on a lot should be memorialized permanently by placing a new structure in the same footprint as the existing law. to help convince you that empty space in front of the current structure has acquired its own historical status, they are making the claims -- it is very typical to assign historical status to an empty portion of a lot and not a structure. but this is extraordinarily unusual, as our historic expert can tell you. it relied on planning and the preservation commission, who do not require rebuilding a green space that no longer exists on a lot. they deal with whether the new structure is compatible. the best known preservationist
is dr. william pasteur. he conducted a survey which they did this survey is not historic. most importantly, he assigned no historical importance to the fact that there is open space and the front of the lot. what is interesting is that the appellate chose to bumper with one of the commission who helped pay for the study of mr. pasteur that indicated that the open space -- that does not mention the open space having any importance. obviously, mr. butler agrees in part with his own story. mr. butler and's own brief you -- mr. butler's own brief to you quotes from his friend mr. press tour.
"by 1900, five lots contain front and back buildings." mr. pasteur also says, " the front and back building on a lot is an urban phenomenon of the 1980's." you can understand why so many city decision makers of the sudden my client's decision to build a structure at the front -- have decided my client's decision to build a structure at the front and back has a solid historic foundation. that condition started as early as the 18 eighties -- 1880's. my final remarks. mr. butler claims conditions of approval required the continuance of various pathways
among the three lots on either side of my client's should be observed and rebuilt. he asked that the city ordered the innocent owners' next door to entirely rebuilt the front corner of his building to make a patch available for future residents to my client's lot. this came up at the planning commission. why aren't we observing those conditions of approval? here is what the deputy city attorney and zoning administrator told the planning commission last year when they brought up, "why shouldn't we be following the 1998 conditions? aren't they binding?" first of all, the 13-year-old commission approval they needed has expired and is not being relied on by my client. the new stated that the voiding of this 1269 permit boy did all
conditions attached -- permit voided all conditions attached. third, the zoning administrator and city attorney said that even if those conditions were not abandoned, and the new commission approval would read it -- and the new commission approval would -- any new commission approval would replace it. there should be a new condition of approval and a new situation addressed. lastly, the 1271 lombard building, owned by mr. costa, has nothing to do with this.
it had its own approval after the 1998 commission approval. it did not contain conditions stating that my client's lot -- future residents had to pass through that lot. further, the building permit had to be final after approval of the permit. there was construction in accordance with the permit and an issuance by the planning department and the board and the building department of a certificate of final completion for that structure on 1271, without pathways cross and it from my client's -- crossing it from my client's property. president chiu: any questions to counsel? at this time, why don't we hear from members of the public? i have several speaker cards.
frederick knapp, tina moylen, p.j. hanlen, and carol anne rodgers. first speaker. >> my name is tom burwell. i represent redwood mortgage. my brother and i and several others now run the small, private mortgage lender. the current owner of 1269 lombard street is in a limited partnership of which many of our investors are members. we took the property back after foreclosure when the developer abandoned the site in the midst of the renovation. our job was to resurrect a project to replace the unsightly condition the developer left. there is no money or profit to make of this foreclosed property. our goal was to develop the
property that is acceptable and liked by the neighborhood, and to minimize additional losses to our investors. it is a difficult task to appease everyone. we would like to thank the russian hill neighbors, the neighborhood association, 900 members strong, for its support. we wish to thank all the adjacent property owners for their patience and support with what we have proposed. upon taking back the property, we hired an architect. the initial design was not liked by the neighbors, so we hired another architect with a significant preservationist background. it also hired a well-known preservation consultant to advise us on how to create a project consistent with his torrid guidelines. we were in constant touch -- with historic guidelines. we were in constant touch with the planning department and the
secretary of the interior's preservation guidelines. we paid particular attention to the analysis of this block, prepared by a well-known historian mr. william pasteur, especially since mr. butler had helped commission that report. in deciding not to further renovate the existing structure, which relied on the written opinion of mr. pasteur and others that the building was not historic. president chiu: thank you. next speaker. >> mining is frederick napknapp. i am an architect practicing in san francisco. we evaluated whether 1269 lombard street is eligible for the california register, which would make it a historical
resource porpoises of ceqa. the california register has four criteria for ceqa. we agree with william pasteur, the foremost authority on the history of russian hill, that it is significant under criteria 3 port architecture -- three for architecture. the original physical characteristics which tell its story must be retained. today, 1269 lombard street does not retain historical integrity and does not contribute to the significance of the potential historic district. because of the 1980 addition you saw, which significantly altered the architecture of the building and the setting conditions which mr. butler has focused on, and because of partial demolition and excavation in the 19 nineties --
we agree the house is a historic resource. still, 1269 lombard street is not a historic resource, and the project would not have significant impact, including 1271. demolition in the front yard would not be a significant impact under ceqa because the building and site are not historic resources under ceqa. nowhere did the secretaries standards require reconstruction of something that is missing, like the front yard, or something altered, like the house. president chiu: next speaker. >> i am the project architect and structural engineer. our firm was retained almost four years ago after the other architects tried to find a design to replace the blight you now see at 1269 lombard street. we have design new buildings on
contextualize sensitive sites -- we have designed new buildings on contextually sensitive sites. we made the additions to the historic building at 1 kearney. this was an equally difficult puzzle to solve. our goal was to bounce the objectives of all stakeholders. we were sensitive to the historic nature of the site, working closely with mr. knapp and city preservation. i am here primarily to answer any questions you might have. the building is an environmental challenge, due to the existing concrete retaining walls. our new design lands right on top of these walls, and no significant new foundations will need to be built. the weight of our new structure will add to the stability of the existing conditions system. we organized and participated in
out reach beyond the minimum required by the planning code, and as a consequence made significant revisions to our scheme. this site is on a very beautiful block, and an important one. dozens of visitors see this lot on the way to lombard's historic crest. something went wrong in the past. but redwood attempted to participate in a rescue mission, and not a neighborhood skirmish. we urge you to uphold the findings of the planning department, the historic preservation commission, and the appeals board. we respectfully ask you to uphold the issuance of a categorical exemption by denying this approval. president chiu: thank you. next speaker. >> good evening, supervisors.
my name is tina moyle. i am the current president of russian hill neighbors. i would like to read our mission statement. russian hill neighbors is the place for residents and merchants to preserve neighborhood character, quality of life, collaboration, volunteering, and celebration of the community. we fight to abide by our mission statement while making any decisions are taking stands on projects, issues, and positions that impact both on russian hill and the city of san francisco. being process oriented, we do just that. we follow a process that is collaborative. for land use issues, we try to stay informed through board members who sit on the board of the san francisco neighborhood network college -- coalition of
san francisco neighborhoods. our committee on land use has eight minutes -- eight members, and includes architects, builders, and those who have gone to the tedious process of building their own homes within the guidelines of the planning department and the stipulations in san francisco. they have experienced stress, i expect. with 1269 lombard street, russian hill members has followed the aforementioned criteria. we have tracked this project for 18 months with a designated project leader who is a member of our executive committee. we have spoken at five different hearings in favor of going forward with the plans presented by the sponsor and architect. we have done due diligence and met with the neighbors, who at the time were opposed to the project. thank you very much.
president chiu: thank you very much. next speaker. >> my name is rod hamill. i purchased the uphill property from 1269 lombard street. all three properties can be seen on the chart here, which you have looked at before. they were first put up for sale individually after having been under common ownership for many decades. that caused some of the problems will talk about. my wife and i met, were married, and lived in our home for years. until we moved a few blocks away to have more space to raise our family, we have been active managers, improving the property and maintaining it ever since, along with our sons, one of which is here. both of them would like the
opportunity some time to live there. i am close friends with the people that bought 1269 lombard street in 1975. i understand their need to take the rabbit hutch of tiny rooms inside and turn it into a family living space, which they did. we were not in support of them moving it forward into the only common aspect of our hill, which is the mid-block open space. they realized the error of that themselves, and moved away shortly thereafter. those changes eliminated all the historic association with either the interior or the exterior. fortunately, a 1998 decision which was a rush to decision would have exasperated that
infringement on the mid-lot open space. it contributed to the gaping hole we have lived with ever since. fortunately, as you have heard, the neighbors who disagree with -- president chiu: thank you. next speaker. >> my name is martin frankel. i am part of the russian hill neighbors design group. i have tracked this project since becoming a member. after it initially met its board about and passed 18-1, i became aware of the project and have tracked it since then, until today. i have been in communication with the developers and have received a lot of the same e- mail you have received in regards to a position of the
project. -- opposition to the project. i have known that the developers have worked with the neighbors as best i can -- they can in accommodating modifications to the project. i do not see any reason why this project should have been in front of the board of appeals or in front of the supervisors. i am still in support of the project. thank you. president chiu: next speaker. >> my name is patricia handlen. with my husband, i am the owner of 1267, the city adjacent to -- the property up the hill adjacent to fall 69. i read the appeal and the planning response. i was proud to see how carefully and accurately our planning department studied and carefully responded to the
appeal. i sincerely hope that after all the years of discussion and review by our neighbors of historic light, height, open space, and other planning issues, that we can now move ahead to successfully complete 1269 lombard street with the responsible proposal we believe will be built professionally by a developer who will continue to respond to legitimate neighborhood concerns. thank you. president chiu: thank you. next speaker. >> good afternoon. my name is carol ann rodgers. i have been a resident of russian hill for more than 40 years. i have been involved with russian help neighbors for almost its entire existence. 25 years ago, i chaired the committee that listed three historic districts and one property on the national register of historic places.
i should the passion for historic places we have discussed here today. i come back as a board member and a member of the committee tina referred to. i would like to take a portion of my time, or perhaps most of it, to read a letter from a neighbor who lives next door and could not be here today. her name is deborah garoffolo. she writes, "i have lived next door to 1269 lombard street since 2001. i am in complete support of the plans. the architect came to the original open house. i have stay abreast of the process. they have had an open policy. they have been respectful to the neighborhood. they have made changes based on input. those opposed have no valid alternative. the existing home has no historical integrity.
the property has been in a suspended construction site for many years. it is an eyesore on one of the most troubled tourists streets in san francisco. i have seen tourists stop to take pictures of the rocking front door with no access. it is a rundown, unoccupied property which attracts graffiti and vandals. the construction would be a positive addition to the neighborhood. it is complementary to the street. this is a rundown lot and home. this would be an asset to the neighborhood. i hope you allow this construction to begin." i urge you to -- president chiu: thank you. next speaker. >> it is my understanding that the opposition has already spoken. is it acceptable for me to speak
with opposition? president chiu: if you are going to speak on behalf of the real party, that is acceptable. otherwise, the time has passed. >> can i speak on a factual point? president chiu: you can. >> it came to my attention that one of the supervisors was under the impression, and perhaps others, that the historic preservation commission was in support of this. i do not know if that is true. i know from looking at their agenda and minutes for june to that date -- for june 2 that they wrote a letter of concern. at the june 24 planning commission, they received a letter of concern from the historic preservation commission. thank you. president chiu: thank you. are there any other members of the public that wish to speak on behalf of the real party of interest? let us move on to three minutes of